Citrus greening (HLB) has been slowly strangling Florida’s citrus industry since it was detected in 2005. Despite many promising treatments and remedies, researchers have found little to stem the tide of HLB’s destruction. However, Florida’s citrus growers were granted a crisis exemption for the use of two different bactericides to wield in the fight against citrus greening. Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced the approval of the exemption in early March.

Bactericides Explained

Bactericides are antibiotics that are meant to be applied through the leaves of the tree. Just like with antibiotics in humans and other animals, bactericides are meant to improve the immune defenses of the infected organism. These bactericides are most effective when applied when citrus trees are at maximum flush of young leaves.

Options in Bactericides

Florida growers have two separate bactericide compounds in three different brand names to choose from. The bactericides are streptomycin sulfate and oxytetracycline. The first is available by the brand name FireWall 50WP, manufactured by AgroSource, Inc. The second is available as oxytetracycline calcium complex, brand name Mycoshield, by Nufarm Americas, Inc., or as oxytetracycline hydrochloride, brand name FireLine 17WP, manufactured by AgroSourcem, Inc.

The bactericide compounds were approved under the EPA’s Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, & Rodenticide Act after an extensive effort for approval by industry and Florida state stakeholders. The hope is these Section 18 products will have a positive effect on tree health. Tom Jerkins, President of Premier Citrus and the current President of the CRDF Board of Directors, was quoted as saying that the bactericide products “are the first available to Florida growers that show real data lowering levels of HLB bacteria in the plant.” The results of testing and grower applications will show how much of an impact bactericides have on stopping HLB.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.